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    • Facebook is turning to its users with two simple questions to help them determine which sources are trustworthy: Do you recognize this domain and do you trust it?

      Which begs the question, how do you determine trust? How much does agreeing with your point of view factor in? Do you think these questions will help the fake news problem on Facebook?

    • It sure seems like this will still be gamed by the bad actors.

      I remember a lot of domains that looked "familiar" that showed up in the feed but actually were just closely named to other legitimate sites. Those sites are happy to have 10 million visitors come just once.

    • I heard about what Facebook was doing and immediate red flags went up. People can use a source regularly but that has nothing to do with whether or not it's trustworthy. Alex Jones has a big audience for example but that doesn't make his stuff trustworthy. So the question becomes if people use and recognize plenty of untrustworthy sites would this still reduce the number of fake news problems? Maybe but the bigger unintended problem may result if people get an increased sense of assurance that these are trusted sources when in fact it may be terrible. I think teaching people that there are plenty of untrustworthy sites out there and especially teaching them how to evaluate information would be an important step in the right direction. Thanks in large part to Trump and people like Alex Jones, people are questioning generally reliable news sources and turning instead to terrible sources. As you've suggested, people trust sites or articles that promote views that are consistent with their beliefs. Get people to understand that a news source that leans towards one political party or another isn't necessarily fake news but just looks at things from a different perspective. I see no easy solutions to this problem.

      The future is likely to see businesses develop that vet news and social media articles and put their stamp of approval on them. If people trust the vetting company or pass on the work to someone else who is 'reliable' (at least to them) then we can get some measure of reliability confidence. We could get a rating score between vetting companies. Let's say for example CNN, MSN, Fox News, NBC all said a news source was reliable then we could trust it with a high level of confidence. Let's say Fox said it was fact and none of the other sources said it was, then we could say there's a reasonable chance it's true but has a right wing lean to it. If Breitbart said it's true but Fox didn't then what? Our whole belief system is so tied up with truth that it's hard to even define truth at times. I think this needs to be downloaded to companies that check accuracy for us. Sort of like good old fashioned journalism. How can this be done on the cheap though? Seems getting people to give their own opinion is cheap but...will always be problematic. How do you deal with people who have a political leaning who say stuff is fake just because they don't like how it reflects on what they believe in even if they think the news is likely to be true? Hilary Clinton ran a child abuse ring? What keeps you from simply using your vote to influence opinion? Sorry I have no good answers to this very challenging problem.

    • I'm not familiar with popular news agregator sites but wonder how good they are at vetting serious news articles? My guess would be that hard core news junkies are quite accurate in their assessments. I'd choose a small group of these people over a group of a thousand random Facebook users. Would I choose them over a group of 20,000 Facebook users? Probably.

      People need to be taught how to evaluate a website not just news or other articles. When I think about my students at school I am horrified at how little they learn about how to evaluate websites. We used to use books that we could rely on and although there are plenty of books out there that are full of woo and nonsense I'd say books are way more reliable than websites. In other words evaluating a source is a rather new thing that the average person never really had to do all that much before the Internet came along.

    • I usually first ask myself if a story sounds sensational or not. That's step number one. Secondly, I check to see who is reporting the story and whether or not their story appears to be well sourced. If the story is being reported by a credible news agency like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, etc. I tend to believe the veractiy of the reporting. If some obscure website that I haven't heard of is reporting something, I won't believe it's reporting unless a more credible, well-established news organziation is reporting it as well.

    • Yeah, I had a relative try to convince me that California was legalizing child prostitution the other day. I looked it up and sure enough it was a total misrepresentation of what was actually going on, which is that minors involved in prostitution are to be tried as victims. That's totally different from child prostitution being legal. This relative did not know how to properly evaluate sourcing and fell for a bogus report as a result.

    • Critical thinking can eliminate a lot of sources, especially if one keeps up with current news. Does the source use unnamed sources too often? Does the story "make sense?" Which political figures does the source follow...which will tell one if they are "left leaning," or "right leaning." If they use about an equal number from both sides of the political spectrum, they may be more balanced than other sources. Do they use a lot of hyperbole, or words that are designed to trigger emotion? If so, they are not likely objective. Reading about the authors of written pieces, getting their biographical information so one knows their background - also helps to understand their perspective and whether or not they are really experts in the field about which they are writing.

      I simply "don't do" politics on Facebook. With 2 pages, I use one for family and personal friends - and the other professionally. Politics don't have a place with either group - there is too much room for misinterpretation, so I simply "hide" political messages from my feed. And when listening to sources on television media, I listen carefully to their wording. If I'm skeptical, I'll look it up on-line. I take nothing at face value when it comes to news.

    • I just listened to an interesting discussion on a podcast about some research done on Democrat and Republicans views of what fake news actually is. There's a huge disparity between their views and this is causing a problem for mainstream society and views of news in general.

    • I had dinner last month with the woman in charge of newsfeed integrity at Facebook. They are trying to do something about fake news but this problem of the left and the right thinking different sources are fake is messing with them. For example, they thought to use fact-checkers like Snopes to flag fake articles, but the right believes the fact checkers are fake.

      Here is a very long but utterly fascinating article on Facebook's two years of Hell.

    • That was utterly fascinating. My hypothesis for awhile has been that fiction is more profitable than truth across all media. Fiction outperforms nonfiction in books and movies because you get to control all the elements of the story—the characters, the setting, etc. And you can tell who writes fiction by how rich they are. So if you see a journalist like Sean Hannity making $20 million a year, you have a pretty good indicator that they are creating fiction, which is unique to them, but they craft it so enough of us can believe it's true. That's the thing: the best fiction is believable as truth.

      Even if you are basing your movie on a true story, you have to take liberties with the truth to get audienced to buy tickets to your movie.

      But if you are competing as a reporter for The New York Times with a reporter for The Washington Post, you have the same story as 20 other papers, and the truth is more boring than fiction, so you make $85,000/year.

    • Has everyone seen this?

    • There are many variations of this chart. Here's one I tend to gravitate towards.

      One thing that bothers me is in their valiant effort to be non-partisan and present both sides, I believe journalists of honest intent leave the impression that there are two valid views of stories where the facts are really slanted to one side.

      For example, the Schiff memo seemed far more accurate than the Nunes memo, but it felt like the press wanted to present it as two sides devolving into partisan bickering. That was true, but it was hard to extract the relative truthfulness of each memo.

    • I wish I understood this and could figure out what to do about it. I have family in southern Utah, in a county that voted 87.5% for Trump, in part for his promise to repeal Obamacare. Some of them are on the ACA and like that but they detest Obamacare.

      One of them with no insurance recently had some scary symptoms that the emergency room wasn't equipped to deal with, so we bought him Obamacare. If you call it the ACA, they'll accept it, but somehow our politicians created this confusion and anger.